What a privilege this journey is. Starting at WOC-AM/ Davenport, IA
(“Ronald Reagan’s radio station”), I’ve learned a lot in 7 years of
mainstream radio, plus another 12 years of opportunity to learn from
people in Christian radio. God’s put me everywhere from Duluth, MN
and Waterloo, IA to West Palm Beach and suburban Chicago. ‘Home’
has become Des Moines. We’re raising our family here, and the roots
grow deeper every day!
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
It really does start with the
question, “what are you trying to accomplish?” If a station is
focused on the business, they have no room to ‘rise above’ the other
stations in the market. However, the beauty of Christian radio is
the purpose is to be the conduit connecting people with God. Focus
on this, and listeners will connect and stay close to you. In other
words, the numbers follow as you connect for ministry’s sake.
2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years
Whether it’s HD or WI-FI, consumers
are going to have a dizzying array of options as we go beyond
terrestrial radio of the past 80 years. Large companies are
developing the product, and as each month passes, another market
welcomes another Christian station. This will only continue to
3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s
Christian radio PD?
Great question. Today’s Christian
radio PD has to focus on the objectives set before them by the
station manager, and translate those objectives into relevant radio
that is attractive and connecting to the listener. Said another
way, “personal agendas need not apply.” When you accomplish this,
you either hit home runs, or find that you and your station’s
purposes are living in different countries. I believe this is the
#1 hang up for CHR radio today.
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your
Research has shown clear and
understandable lyrics are important to our target. She wants to
participate and be drawn in by the music. Vertically driven songs
continue to be page 1 testers. We seek songs with these elements,
done creatively and passionately that results in a song that
connects at both an emotional and spiritual level.
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
Oh my. This has been a big lesson
for ‘06….after years of attempting the big and over the top, I
understand at a deeper level now that fulfilling a common need is
what it’s about. Our biggest winners have been simple things like a
gift card to one of those meal assembly service businesses, or a
‘lunch and learn,’ where we get together with one of the hospitals
in Des Moines for lunch and speak on issues like tackling diet and
exercise once and for all, or the latest on treating breast cancer.
Christian radio listeners also have big hearts: they love nominating
a friend to win. Great opportunities wait to grow your database and
promote new listener awareness in that truth.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
When all of radio and labels agree
that the digital download services are downloading at an acceptable
quality level, that’ll be great.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
Pre-conceived notions from
non-listeners, signal strength (for some), and we’re still a ‘new
format.’ However, #1 is really having great talent. You know,
having that intangible gift that allows one to read the phone book
and engage the listener doing it? They may be a little off the wall
and high maintenance, but great personalities consistently on-air
would be out of this world.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
Connect and share. It’s been said
already by so many great leaders: be real. There are great talent
coaches working in this format that have been instrumental towards
accomplishing this. If you’re a PD, I’d encourage you to get
outside help from a leading station or consultant and then make time
to aircheck your team to accomplish this!
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
The teams at Shine.FM and Radio U
continue to innovate and try new ideas. Spirit 105.3 also mixes up
the tactics in their strategy to keep it fresh, and I appreciate
their hard work. As far as technology goes, Z88.3 hands down.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
A much more crowded place than we’d
planned on 5 years ago. However, the good news is two fold: there’s
always room for more people to get hope into America, and Christian
radio already has thousands of stations- yet the best still rise to
the top. Regardless of how many options there are, the best will
still rise to the top.